Project Archipelago is an initiative to elevate the quality of engagement between differing viewpoints on complex issues through the development and promotion of a new debate methodology and supporting technology, along with a new forum enabled by these innovations.
For those engaged in debate, this new approach promises a platform where one can fully lay out one’s arguments with clarity, completeness, and focus, while also providing a comprehensive rebuttal to all aspects of your opponent’s arguments.
For those seeking to evaluate disagreements on complex issues, this new approach promises a clear, easily navigable map to the arguments from different sides of any issue.
Why We Need This
We are surrounded by complex issues and public policy choices. We each have a responsibility to make well-informed decisions for ourselves, our families, and our communities. But for each of these important issues, we often must analyze many arguments behind differing views and prescriptions. And in any effort to do so, we are plagued by two enormous obstacles: complexity and bias.
Look at public policy alone. Issues around foreign policy, economic policy, environmental policy, energy policy, tax policy, monetary policy, criminal justice policy, entitlement policy, and many other areas are all incredibly complex. Any legitimate attempt to really understand alternative viewpoints on just one topic in just one of these areas could be a full-time job. So we are forced to rely largely on media and experts to break things down for us – to digest the complexity and deliver conclusions that we can count on.
But what media? Which experts? Where and how can we be assured that the digestion and analysis we rely on is truly unbiased? Is anyone truly unbiased? It is rare to find a real expert on any dispute who does not have some stake in the outcome. So it is incumbent on us, as we are often told, to educate ourselves and think critically – to logically evaluate the arguments and evidence from all sides of an issue.
Limitations of Debate
And that brings us to debate. Surely, the best way to evaluate opposing views is to put the opposing advocates in the same room and have them confront each other’s arguments. That’s the spirit of debate, right? Let’s test arguments against each other in an open forum and let the truth emerge! But whenever we try that, complexity comes back to bite us again. All of our current methods of debate are hobbled in some measure by some or all of the following: incompleteness, inefficiency, lack of focus, lack of structure, gamesmanship, and ironically – a failure to actually engage.
In the quest for engagement, we sacrifice completeness, focus, clarity, and organization. And often, we really don’t get very much engagement after all. All this really limits the ability for debate to help us increase our understanding and make good decisions.
Mutual Engaged Argument Construction
Project Archipelago is dedicated to developing and promoting a better way to engage. We believe there is a better way, enabled by modern technology and a few changes to our paradigm about how we debate. We believe that this methodology – Mutual Engaged Argument Construction – will enable deep engagement while still achieving focus, clarity, organization, and completeness. We believe that a forum based on this approach has the potential to separate good arguments from bad, and to increase public understanding of complex issues to a level that simply isn’t possible today.
Our goal is a quantum leap in the effectiveness of debate, and thereby, a quantum leap in public understanding of complex controversial issues. Join us!
If you want to see an example of MEAC in action, you can do that here.
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And you can contact us at any time with your thoughts, suggestions, or questions.